On Saturday, Tap Initiative for Citizens Development hosted six football viewing centres in six states across the geopolitical zones of the federation to promote voter participation and voters card collection.
The event which took place simultaneously during the Chelsea vs Arsenal game was viewed in Owerri, Gombe, Lagos, Cross River, Kaduna and Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at the Abuja viewing centre which took place at River Plate Park, the Team Lead, Martin Obono, stated that the event was geared towards driving PVC collection and voter education. “Since official data from INEC showed that over 8 million people have not collected their PVCs, we are using football, which a lot of young people are passionate about, to drive PVC collection. Therefore, for you to enter the viewing centers, you need to show you permanent voters’ card.”
Alfa Alut, a Chelsea fan who was one of those that won an original jersey, said that during the voter education half time show, he learnt that choosing a bad coach is synonymous with choosing a bad leader, a bad governor or a bad president.
“When the team lead for Tap was speaking with us during the half-time show, I learnt that a coach is like a president, if you have a bad coach, he will use a bad formation and wrong players in the wrong position. The same thing with a president or a governor, he will choose the wrong commissioners or ministers and what happened to us as Chelsea fans would be what will happen to the entire country. Imagine the coach playing Alonso instead of Emry? Just look at how the coach is playing Ngolo Kante and Jorginho in a different position. The coach’s decision to do this is costing us vital points just as bad leaders are costing us a lot in this country and we must vote the right ones in February,” Mr Alfa said.
The viewing centres were part of the activities the organisation is using to spread its voter education messages. On February 9, Tap is hosting a live football game at the National Stadium, Surulere. The game will star football players like Kanu Nwankwo, Taribo West, Mutiu Adepoju, Victor Ikpeba, Samson Siasia, Garba Lawal, Nduka Ubgade, Uche Okechukwu, Daniel Amokachi and other 1994 African Cup of Nations champions to play against 2013 African Cup of Nations champions like Ogenyi Onazi, Mobi Oparaku, Joseph Yobo among others. During the half time of the show, M.I will be performing and Tuface Idibia.
At a recent meet and greet event with some of the players, organised by Tap initiative, Victor Ikpeba appreciated Tap initiative for its confidence in the former Nigerian team and the opportunity to be a part of this national cause to get the right leaders elected. According to Ikpeba, “I am happy that Tap is Nonpartisan. If this country needs a change, I am ready to create awareness through all my online platforms to encourage people to vote. We support what Tap iNitiative is doing and commend their efforts.”
In the same event, Nduka Ugbade and Taribo West both expressed their relief and gratitude to Tap initiative and OSIWA for putting together the PVC football.
According to Nduka, “For many years, I have traveled far and wide playing football but the issue is that we kept complaining about leadership in Nigeria but with a program like this, I believe that this will go a long way to sensitize our youths so that they can come out with their PVCs and vote for a competent leader.”
While Taribo West added that “We will support Tap iNitiative with our gifting to mobilize the hearts of the youths to get their PVC and choose the right leaders.”
Also speaking at the event, Mutiu Adepoju, a former Super Eagles attacking midfielder said that, “When I was called upon for this programme, I knew that this was a great event and a huge part of our responsibility. I will not only be playing but I will be playing with my colleagues and fellow legends to mobilise Nigerians to collect their PVCs.”
Mr Obono thanked everyone who participated at the event and concluded by saying that, “we want to heighten the electoral integrity of 2019 elections by increasing voter participation. That is why, we are using this games to reach large scale of urban and young voters with suited voter education content.”